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The MOAC DTC is a pioneering EPSRC funded Doctoral Training Centre, taking in bright science graduates and helping them become the multidisciplinary researchers needed for 21st century science.
 

About the MOAC Doctoral Training Centre

The MOAC Doctoral Training Centre was established in 2003 to catalyse research and training at Warwick across the physical/life sciences interface. MOAC was formed in response to the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council's aim to embed physical sciences methodologies into solving biological sciences problems. MOAC stands for Molecular Organisation and Assembly in Cells and its remit has remained at the molecular end of cellular function with an ever increasing emphasis on developing and applying new experimental and theoretical methods to such problems.

MOAC's first round of funding supported 5 intakes of students. Its success was recognised when it received funding for a further 5 intakes of students starting in 2008 and for a further cohort recruited for 2013 which was the final new intake year.

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Community

The MOAC DTC is a catalyst for bringing together academics from different departments, particularly through the weekly MOAC seminar programme, the annual MOAC conference, and the joint supervision of MOAC students' research projects. MOAC students also have the opportunity to collaborate with their peers from other DTCs around the country through the joint DTC conference programme.

MOAC is located on the top floor of Senate House at Warwick in a centre designed for the requirements of cohort-based doctoral training. Most students undertake their research projects based in departments using MOAC as a venue for weekly seminars, workshops, conferences and project meetings as well as less formal meeting with colleagues over a cup of coffee (or alternative).

The MOAC Centre is a focal point for inter-cohort interactions. The Systems Biology Centre is next door and shares a the common-room facilities with MOAC. The Analytical Science: Methods and Instrumental Techniques MSc students have a work room in MOAC as they share MSc modules with MOAC students. In September 2013 the MOAC students were also joined by 13 students from the Centre for Analytical Science Marie Curie Innovative Doctoral Programme.

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Science

The central aim of MOAC's scientific remit is to visualize, control and apply molecular processes in cells by harnessing relevant physical (including mathematical) and engineering sciences capabilities in order to solve key problems within the life sciences. We tackle the challenging problems created when assemblies of molecules combine in orchestrated fashions to achieve essential cellular tasks such as replication; protein synthesis; movement of molecules, organelles and cells; and morphology changes. Particular application areas are those where current techniques are simply just not good enough: nucleic acid-protein complexes, membrane proteins, fibrous proteins, analytical neuroscience and combinations of these.

A key feature of MOAC has been the integration of theoretical and experimental approaches beginning with the masters training year where all students have to take modules in biology, chemistry, computing, mathematics, physical sciences, and statistics and do research projects in experimental biological sciences, experimental physical sciences and in theory or computing. All MOAC PhD students have supervisors from two disciplines with students working effectively in at least two different research environments.